Deriving in part from this story
about E:D, is there a role for a general scanning device in Oolite, which can draw out more information about an object? This would seem to me to be a good hook for missions/stories … obviously, secret codes etc. would have to be rare, special events, but of the objects out there to be scanned, what sort of day-to-day information could a scanner reveal?
At the moment, we have the [wiki]Scanner Targeting Enhancement[/wiki] and the [wiki]Wormhole Scanner[/wiki] in the core game. For OXPs, there's also the [wiki]Cargo Scanner OXP[/wiki] and the [wiki]Bounty Scanner[/wiki]. If we had a general "scanner" functionality in the game (built around the ship ident system on the "r" key), these could all be add-ons to that system, and all their capabilities rolled into the core game.
There are four basic classes of objects in the game (I think):
- Ships and ship-like objects (i.e. ones that move on their own). This would include Escape Pods and, conceivably, things such as Star Jellies.
- Inert objects: cargo canisters, rocks, boulders and splinters.
- Planets and suns.
There is one possible oddity: derelict ships/deactivated Tharglets. These might need a category of their own.
So what extra information could be drawn out of these different objects, when scanned? And how long should that scanning take? Personally, I'd be in favour of a delay, as with the wormhole scanner, for a lot of the extra information: scanning should require some care and attention, so a delay would seem to be appropriate. Perhaps some information could be immediate, and some would require a scanner enhancement and/or a longer period of "digging". Some might not be available for every object, either.
1) Ships: information could include ship name; Commander name; legal status; armaments; extra equipment; outbound from; inbound to; declared cargo manifest
2) Cargo contents; name of ship registered to (for canisters); mineral/alloy/precious metal content (for rocks/boulders/splinters)
3) Stations: station name; allegiance; restrictions on trade (e.g. if certain goods are illegal to import and/or export)
4) Planets and suns: name; allegiance; atmosphere/habitability (for planets); spectral classification; coronal instability (for stars)
Are there other types of objects, and/or other kinds of information which a scanner could, in time, reveal? And would this information provide potential jumping-off points for player fun?